Angels reliever Scott Downs delivers a pitch during a 2-1 victory over the… (Jason Miller / Getty Images )
MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Downs has had some tough breaks this season, suffering a bruised right ankle on April 12 at Minnesota and a bruised left knee Sunday against Toronto in Anaheim, both injuries putting the reliever on crutches.
The 36-year-old left-hander has also been very fortunate. The April injury looked serious -- he twisted the ankle as he covered first, was stepped on by the base-runner and had to be helped off the field -- but Downs avoided the disabled list and missed only three games.
Sunday's injury, incurred when Downs corkscrewed out of the way of a J.P. Arencibia line drive through the middle, also looked serious, but an MRI test showed no major ligament damage, and he should be available to pitch Wednesday night against the Twins.
Fellow reliever LaTroy Hawkins, also injured in the ninth inning Sunday, didn't fare as well. The setup man broke the pinkie finger on his right (throwing) hand and will be out for four to six weeks.
"I feel lucky to avoid the DL again, but I'm using up my nine lives fast," said Downs, who replaced Jordan Walden as the team's closer on April 27 and converted his first two save opportunities.
"I had the ankle problem, and now the knee, which was a freak thing. My body fell one way, my leg twisted the other, and I couldn't put any weight on the leg. I can’t explain it, but I’m moving good today, and I don't feel anything."
Downs, who has not allowed an earned run in 9 2/3 innings of 11 appearances, did agility drills and threw 12 pitches off a bullpen mound Tuesday, not at full strength but with enough stress to know that he could pitch in a game. He will wear a compression sleeve on the knee but not a brace.
Downs told Manager Mike Scioscia he would be available to pitch Tuesday night, "but we’ll probably give him another day," Scioscia said. "As important as he’s been to the bullpen, this is great news."
The Angels lineup: CF Mike Trout, 3B Alberto Callaspo, 1B Albert Pujols, RF Torii Hunter, DH Mark Trumbo, 2B Howie Kendrick, LF Vernon Wells, SS Erick Aybar, C Chris Iannetta, P Dan Haren.
The Twins lineup: CF Erik Komatsu, SS Brian Dozier, 1B Joe Mauer, LF Josh Willingham, DH Ryan Doumit, 3B Danny Valencia, RF Trevor Plouffe, C Drew Butera, 2B Jamey Carroll, P Scott Diamond.
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